There is a good deal to be said for rowing; but despite this all too few boatmen row. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that few boats are designed for rowing and are hard on the arms, unbalanced, unhandy, and tiring. One of the best ways of learning how to handle, and be safe in, a boat is to begin with oars; learn well how to row, scull, unship oars, stow them, come alongside floats and docks, pull through surf, and get away from a beach where waves are rolling in. What is learned in the rowing boat becomes invaluable when operating any other kind of boat. And there is, of course, the matter of exercise; in what other pastime is so much offered, and for so little? There would be many more seamen afloat in pleasure craft if they had first graduated from oars.
The open rowing boat shown in the design this month represents an excellent kind of craft for use in either fresh or salt water. It would be especially suitable for most kinds of fishing and a wonderful one for trolling for fish like striped bass or other fish that frequent shallow water. While Wideawake was designed for rowing and will be very easy to pull by oars it will also perform well if powered with a small outboard motor. I would not advise a motor of more than 2 1/2 to 5 horsepower; nor would I advise the installation of an inboard motor. There is real need for a proper design of a boat of this character and size and since it is not a difficult or expensive one to build will fill the needs of hundreds of water-minded men looking for an honest and practical boat. Wideawake is not too heavy or long to transport on a two-wheel trailer, and yet is large enough to carry three grown people in safety and comfort. This dory would be ideal for Sea Scout training, boy's camps, and similar activities. It will likewise appeal to boat builders.
The overall length of Wideawake is 13 feet 4 inches, the water line length, 11 feet 6 inches, the breadth, 4 feet 4 inches, and the draft with one person aboard, 4 inches. The little boat has 1 foot 11 inches freeboard at the bow, 1 foot 7/8 inch at the lowest place, and 1 foot 5 1/8 inches at the stern; the latter dimensions are an excellent measure of the capacity of the boat. The empty weight will be approximately 145 pounds, not too much for two men to lift with comfort.
The seating arrangement is designed to give balance with a one-man load rowing from the center thwart; with two aboard one sits in the stern sheets, the other forward; and with three, of course, the load is distributed on all three seats. For easy rowing and comfortable seating the location of the thwarts, row locks, foot rests, floorboards, and freeboard is correct and so I would not advise altering the spacing of these. A very tall man might require a different arrangement, or a very little boy, particularly in the matter of foot rests.
The lines show the conventional dory hull; flat bottom slightly rockered fore and aft, rounded bilges with lapstrake planking, generous overhang forward, and neat rake to the stern, and pleasing sheer. There is a lot of flare from the sides of the keel to the sheer which provides excess bouyancy and assures dryness. The boat was not designed for high speeds; if pushed beyond 8 1/2 miles an hour the bow will raise and the stern settle. It will be noticed that, unlike the usual dory, the bottom of Wideawake is in comparison wide. This feature increases the stability to a considerable degree and with it the performance of the boat in this respect is greatly improved. Dories, even those with narrow bottoms, are excellent boats, able, and easily propelled and for many very good reasons were built with narrow bottoms. However, for the purposes we have in view, the modifications incorporated in these plans are welcome features.